Radical Bowel Movements

Bearing Down For A Better World

Lifted from the comments yesterday, Class War unveil their latest triumph of radical activism. Because, according to one class warrior,

It’s our job for the rich to fear us. 

When not waging a “decisive battle against gentrification” by smashing the windows of an estate agent, the Class War Massive declare their ambition to “get rid of the rich” – by as yet unspecified but apparently terminal meansThis heady intellectual broth has inevitably attracted our finest minds, among them, the self-styled “rebel ethnographer” Dr Lisa Mckenzie, whose mental adventures have previously entertained us

Sweating From The Effort

Apparently it’s the duty of every female Guardian contributor to air her feminist credentials at regular intervals and to find a feminist angle for pretty much anything that moves. So you can imagine the pressure bearing down on the paper’s feature writer Sophie Heawood, who, deadline looming, strains heroically to make a feminist point. Any feminist point:

My daughter has recently become obsessed with the size of her poos – and they are all big, according to her, whether they look to me like they came out of a greedy Jack Russell or a sickly church mouse. “Big poo, Mummy,” she says, in awed tones – awed by her own bottom. “Big poo.” 

Stick with it, she’ll get there. And there may be some classic sentences to file along the way. 

I, in turn, have become desperately proud of her pride. I’m so in love with her big poos that I can’t bear the idea of them stopping.

No. Don’t. Bad dog.

Now brace yourselves because here come the guts of the article, the meat of it, wrapped with a single-ply tissue of regulation feminism:

[I can’t bear the idea] of her realising that they aren’t things you want to show off about. Of the day when somebody makes it clear to her, whether by accident or design, that sweet little girls aren’t supposed to describe the massive steaming achievements cruising out of their bums.

Curse the patriarchy, stopping little goddesses finding triumph and validation in the size of their stools.

That curly little blondes such as she should desire to be small, and contained, and clean, and dress up as pink princesses. And shut up about their dirty selves; already, enough. I dread the day those whopper turds have got to go… And I think about how much of what girls do is about making themselves smaller. Wanting to suck their waists in and be thin. To not have said so much in public, with such an impact. To be like Hello Kitty – all smile, no mouth.

Sorrows such as this must be shared with friends.

A friend told me yesterday that her four-year-old announced she had done a poo “like a brown dolphin.” Another friend remembers her little sister sitting on a potty and saying, “Look! It is a beautiful golden sun!” before they all waved it goodbye, discussing the beautiful sunset as they flushed it down the loo. I know I must, but I am resistant. I do not want to flush my daughter’s beautiful sunsets down the loo.

Hey, don’t blame me for lowering the tone. Julia found it.


Continue reading "Sweating From The Effort" »

Bearing Down, Radically

After that unpleasantness, let’s elevate the tone with some art, shall we? Cleanse the palate, as it were. A reader, Don Frese, has found just the thing

Difficult territory is a cornerstone of the visual arts - so artist Mikala Dwyer knew it would be confronting last night when she invited Balletlab dancers to empty their bowels as part of a performance at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

There we go. 

The two-hour act saw the six dancers, masked but naked beneath sheer garments, move around a room in the gallery before sitting on transparent stools and performing - only if they were moved to do so - what is usually one of our most private and rarely discussed daily acts.

Now take a deep breath and steady yourself because it’s all very daring, what with all the transparency and nakedness and bodily functions. We’ve never seen anything like that before. Never. Not ever. And you can tell how daring Ms Dwyer’s art is because the venue director says so:  

ACCA director Juliana Engberg said the centre exists to support each exhibiting artist’s vision. “Of course, contemporary art is sometimes very challenging, but ACCA’s role is to work with challenging ideas,” she said. 

Yes, it’s challenging, very challenging. After all, it must be challenging - otherwise it would just be, erm, fatuous and juvenile. And that can’t be the case. Heavens, no. Being, as she is, so enlightened and so much better than the herd, Ms Dwyer’s excremental transgression will no doubt rattle the bourgeois rube and blow his tiny mind. Though in an age when just about anyone, even a bourgeois rube, can watch Two Girls One Cup on their smartphone while at work, eating lunch, inducing those fits of pearl-clutching ain’t as easy as it was. What’s a challenging artist to do? Well, she must tunnel even deeper into the aesthetic fundament: 

“When Mikala brought this idea of a performance and film dealing with material transformation and ritual to us, we evaluated it as a key and bold move in her practice, one that links to a long artistic legacy looking at alchemical transformation and magical performance. The work, while challenging taboos, never becomes sensational or gratuitous. It’s wonderful, powerful work.”

Of course it’s not just about being bold and challenging, or those “alchemical transformations.” It’s about politics too:

Dwyer said the one-off performance was not designed as a mere shock tactic. Rather, she hoped ACCA visitors would think and talk about something we have been socialised to consider dirty and shameful, and have historically hidden from view, even though it is perfectly natural. In turn, they might transform other institutionalised ideas about the world.

Yes, transforming the world. By watching people shit.

Ms Dwyer’s mighty work can be savoured in full at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, until July 28.